Friday, June 10, 2011

1 Samuel 8:1-9

1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

Questions to consider:

  • Who does Samuel appoint as the leaders of Israel?
  • Were they good leaders of Israel?
  • What does Israel ask for?
  • What does God have to say about the idea of the people of Israel having a king?
Possibilities for prayer:

The little interlude that occurs between Samuel and God reminds me of the way that a father might deal with his children. The people of Israel are getting discontent again, this time asking for a king. God doesn't tell Samuel to straight out reject this request, but instead advises that Samuel remind them of what that decision will cost. Parents often give their children the freedom to make their own decisions (whether those are good ones or bad ones) so that they can learn from those decisions. It seems like God is setting up a similar situation here--God will allow the Israelites a king if they really want one, but they should carefully about what that will mean.
Today, let's thank God for the freedom that we have to make choices in our lives, and ask that God would provide us guidance in the decisions we will and are making.